Friday, February 29, 2008

Please stop overheating

My computer freaks out soooo much when I try to do the smallest things (like photoshop these two images: one of the first line etching on a copper plate, and then the print after lots more work was done on the plate). But maybe I'm like that, too. I'm still ramping down after being incensed by that man on the train, and taking comfort in people who are polite and civil. Case in point: last night in the studio, Takuji Hamanaka, the Japanese woodblock printing teacher came to talk to me and see my work. I had been freaking out about not being a traditional printmaker, and trying to invest more in my images. But he was really supportive of my print tests on knit paper, and interested in my other work as well.

I couldn't sleep last night b/c my head was swarming with ideas for more work. I'm going to trash my tunnel book version of a book I've been trying to engineer in my head, and re-configure it into a custom box. Tomorrow will be my studio at home day, and I'm really excited for the time, finally, to commit to it. To prepare, I indulged myself at the art supply store tonight in things like green tape and 0.9 lead, black ink and a brown pen. Though it takes so little to set me off, it also takes so little to please me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My hands can't stay still

After brunch with Yoonshin and her daughter today, I went to the printshop to finally attempt the scary task of printing onto my knitted paper. I'm better now at pacing myself, so I only spent a couple of hours there to do tests and went home (my usual pace is to force myself to stay in the studio for hours and hours and beat myself up if I don't come out w/tons of product). Last night, I made a binder for all my proofs and started my official digital log of my etching process. My OCD nature was greatly soothed by this activity.

The printed pieces were less interesting to me b/c I forgot that the knits would get completely squashed by the press. Flat knits that look like they've been run over by a truck are not interesting to me. But the ink that fell between the spaces on the guard paper behind the knit made interesting patterns. I also tested printing onto loose fibers. Now I have a lot to figure out before I hit the studio again on Tuesday. The most hilarious thing about doing this is that I'm working in a communal studio, so people are constantly dumbfounded by my experiments (I love when someone said, "oh, so you're really loose" when I said I didn't have a set plan for exactly how everything would look in the end). I don't understand the printmaking mentality yet, but have three months left of heavy exposure to help me figure it out. Either that, or the solvent fumes will take care of what's left up there.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The nicest package I've gotten this year!

Tam is brilliant. She knitted me these socks that I got in the mail today. Even the addressing was nice - she gave me a title. Something like "To the Amazing. . ." She's so good at making me feel good. Besides that, I spun some washi from my visit to Japan last year, got chalk all over the place, taught myself how to fold a new origami pocket, and sent out a bunch more mail art. Low key, but plenty for a very cold day. This morning, I finished typing out notes from the Sherman Alexie book I finished last night:
"I remember your mother when she was the best traditional dancer in the world," my father said. "Everyone wanted to call her sweetheart. But she only danced for me. That's how it was. She told me that every other step was just for me."

"But that's only half the dance," I said.

"Yeah," my father said. "She was keeping the rest for herself. Nobody can give everything away. It ain't healthy."

"You know," I said, "sometimes you sound like you ain't even real."

"What's real? I ain't interested in what's real. I'm interested in how things should be."
--From The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven

Friday, February 01, 2008

"I am pleased to inform you. . .

. . .that the National Screening Committee of the Institute of International Education (IIE) has recommended you for a grant under the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the academic year 2008-09."


And that explains the recent demons (this one in particular only shows up when I am on the brink of big, positive things in my life), which have instantly been quieted. I was all jittery today b/c Clover had mentioned in a recent email that she was pulling for me since notification was going out this week. Then today I looked on the Fulbright site, and sure enough, they said everyone would find out TODAY.

I proceeded to run all over my home, start eating and stop eating random food, look for a pencil for half an hour, curse myself for not being able to locate my wood engraving tools, and just generally be crazy. I finally forced myself to do an hour of yoga right after eating an entire pot of soup. I got the email less than an hour before I had to run out the door to see Ching-In read. Barely any time to contact people! So a lot of people 1. don't know 2. have garbled phone messages 3. have missed calls.

The hard thing now is more waiting - they send my app to Korea and then back here for final selection. They nominate twice the number of people that they have grants for in each country, so I have to wait another few months to see if I make the final cuts. But for now, it feels good to still be in consideration.